Penn State football’s receiving corp found ways to succeed without its veteran starters. Now, it’ll have to continue on that path without Juwan Johnson.
News of Juwan Johnson’s transfer came as a shock to me, as I’m sure it did for many Penn State football fans. Just one short year ago he was seen as the next great Nittany Lions’ receiver. After an injury and drop-plagued 2018, he’s headed elsewhere as a grad transfer (Courtesy of PennLive). He initially looked into the transfer portal Friday before deciding to go ahead and move on.
First off, the depth chart will take a major hit losing a two-year starter in Johnson, but it’s far from a devastating loss. Penn State relied on so many youngsters this year. It’s expected that those players and other underclassmen will step up in 2019.
Freshmen KJ Hamler and Jahan Dotson already proved they could play this past year, putting up big-time production for young receivers. Cam Sullivan-Brown, Justin Shorter and Daniel George can take over his spot and have already received some playing time. Along with lone returning senior Brandon Polk, this offense should be locked and loaded for a better passing season than 2018.
As much as he meant to the offense, using his big body to make highlight catches, the offense lived without him much of 2018. It found a way to succeed in his absence, utilizing Hamler’s speed to bust out for big gains and tight end Pat Freiermuth to outmuscle defenders for the ball.
it’s a bittersweet announcement. The first thoughts I had were of frustration, seeing him depart the program after a down year. He still had one more season, and he could’ve bounced back and left as an all-time great receiver in the program.
On the flip side, he’s a player that the program will never forget. His sophomore year (2017), he made countless big plays, including the game-winning touchdown catch at Iowa with no time left on the clock.
He helped the Nittany Lions to a Fiesta Bowl win that season before going through a trying 2018, where his numbers dipped from 54 receptions for 701 yards to 25 catches for 352 yards.